Usage Example 1: Using a Data Table to Summarize and Order Materials in a Project
Years ago while as a production manager I was assigned to manufacture parts, fabricate subassemblies, and assemble stone crusher plants. I used spreadsheet software on a 80286 MS-DOS PC to summarize and order materials to be used in the project.
Materials were mostly in the form of structural profiles like I-beams, C-beams, L-beams, and plates, as well as fasteners along with machinery and equipment. We had a part list sorted by subassemblies, machinery, and equipment. There was not much problem with machinery and equipment.
The main problem was with materials to be used in subassemblies because individual lengths of structural elements of each subassembly were given in the parts list. Types of materials for different subassemblies were more or less similar, for instance, different lengths of a type of I-beam was supposed to be used in several subassemblies, and that I-beam was available in 12 meters length in the market. So we had to order the 12 meters beams and later cut them to desired lengths.
In the spreadsheet software a data table was created for these types of materials and the attributes of each structural element was entered in the table, which was later sorted by the type of material. In this way, different individual lengths of each type of material could easily be combined together and later divided by the available lengths in the market.
As a result of this attempt, raw materials were reduced to about thirty types, and the required quantity of each type was ordered and purchased.